In Kenya almost every meal is cooked with “kitunguu” , some even go a notch high and make “ kachumbari”. This definitely tells you that onion is a basic need in mosts families that can afford it. Apart from those in rural areas who at times grow their own onions, all other homes in urban areas buy onions when they need to cook.
Let’s do the math, an acre of bulb onions given the care it requires can give you an income of Ksh 770, 000. After, 3 months of transplanting the bulb onions it can produce more than 16,000 Kgs bulbs.
Currently 1 kg of bulb onions can fetch Ksh 50, that is, 18,000 * 50= Ksh, 900,000. Production cost per acre is estimated to be less than Ksh 150, 000. This translates your net profit to Ksh 750,000. The best varieties that are doing well in Kenya are Jambar F1, Red Pinoy F1, Red Comet F1, Red passion F1.
If you are a farmer and you are interested in getting the best results, then you need to start from the nursery and follow the following guidelines;
- Make a raised nursery bed 1 metre wide and any desired length.
- Apply well decomposed manure at a rate of 15kg per square metre.
- Mix and Apply DAP fertilizer at a rate of 20 grams per metre square
- Make shallow furrows 15 cm apart. Mix the seeds with dry ash, sand or soil at a ratio of 1:3 to help spread the small seeds.
- Plant the seeds and cover lightly with soil and apply mulches ( Grass or Polythene cover spread over the soil on the nursery bed)
- After planting irrigate the nursery bed liberally for the first 10 days and continue watering regularly.
- Germination of seeds will take about 7-10 days after which the mulches are removed and used to make a shade above the tender plants which have not fully developed.
- Transplanting of the seedlings takes place 6 weeks after planting seeds in the nursery. Transplant when the seedlings have pencil thick base and a height of approximately 15cm.
- Seedlings should have 3 to 5 well-formed leaves at transplanting time. Two weeks before transplanting reduce the shade to improve seedling survival rate in the field.
- It takes about 3 months for onions to mature
Onions can be grown both indoors and open field farming. The choice is yours depending on your resources and the size of your land.